A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:


The Band Perry, Black Bear Casino. The trio performed its exceptional hits plus a snappy version of “Uptown Funk.” Kimberly Perry is the energizer bunny of country music.

Carol Z, Red Schoolhouse Winery. Here’s a great California vibe setting in the woods of Stone Lake, Wis. Minneapolis singer/guitarist Carol Z delighted the shivering crowd with ballads and pop classics. Too bad it was so cold.

Lisa Fischer and Band 2, the Dakota. Between Sunday with Fischer and Grand Baton and Tuesday with Bernard Fowler and Band 2, patrons got loads of “Satisfaction.” The jazzy Stones hits by Band 2 were extraordinary, especially with local guy Cory Wong on guitar.

dale Schlotfeldt, New Brighton

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Alabama Shakes, Paisley Park. This was a more intimate space with a better sound system in which to appreciate the band, compared with outdoors at Hall’s Island. Brittany Howard is an extraordinarily emotive singer who can purr, plead and wail in the tradition of Etta James, Janis Joplin and Otis Redding.

Lisa Fischer, the Dakota. She proved why she is the most wondrous small-room singer working today. The high point was her magical, meditative reading of “Gimme Shelter.” Too bad we didn’t get to hear her sing the same song with a different approach with the Rolling Stones at TCF Bank Stadium because Grace Potter sat in on that number.

Jim Oblon, “Real-Phonic Radio Hour.” His “day job” is drummer for Paul Simon. But this Nashville cat is also a special guitar stylist. He offered Nat King Cole’s “With You on My Mind,” which he said was not jazz, not country and not blues, but was all three. He was right, and it was terrific.

Jon Bream, Star Tribune